Weight of EU/Canada Trade Deal to Fall on Small Shoulders

October 19, 2016 10:54 AM

While the U.S. is working to pass the TPP, the European Union is fighting its own trade battles.

A landmark trade deal with Canada is backed by a majority of the 28-member nations.

The deal is earmarked to be officially signed at an EU-Canada summit in Brussels, Belgium in two weeks, but it may be at the mercy of a decision from a regional parliament in Belgium.

The Wallonia area of the country houses 3.5 million people and is composed of small farms and rust belt towns. Because the EU was built with various checks and balances, what gets decided in the small region could put the entire deal in jeopardy, leaving the rest of the EU with nothing.

“The risk exists, and it is a serious risk if member states—let alone regions in member states—are going to misuse a perceived competence they can claim they have for internal political fights in the country or for differences between political parties or…to their voters, certain strong positions once the chance comes, you can forget about EU trade policy,” said Jacques Pelkmans of the Center for European Policy Studies.

The EU said the deal with Canada improves trade, creates jobs, and removes nearly all tariffs.

Many consider it to be a prelude to TTIP, the U.S. and EU trade agreement currently being negotiated. Those talks have seen massive protests in member states, including Belgium and Wallonia.

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